I must admit to being a bit of a conspiracy theorist. (Nut, I guess, is what most people would substitute.) It’s really not a good idea to get me started on the faked moon landings or the real killers of JFK. But I’m pretty reasonable about Area 51, the main jewel of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a large and remote area 100 miles north and east of Las Vegas.
Since the 1950s, the NTS has been used as a test facility for the most advanced aircraft the U.S. military has (starting with the famous U-2.) Since then, everything from the F-117 to the B-2 has done its first trials there.
Of course, if that’s all it were, perhaps the internet wouldn’t buzz like it does about Area 51, a multi-acre tract of buildings and runways around the dry Groom Lake. Here are the essential bits of info:
• The past three American presidents have signed legislation exempting the NTS
from having to release anything about its research, nuclear waste disposal,
personnel records, etc. The Freedom of Information act does not apply to
anything related to the NTS.
• Two past scientists – both now discredited badly through a variety of means –
claim that when they worked at Area 51 (in the 60s, 70s, and 80s) they – hold on –
worked on reverse-engineering alien spacecraft. At the time of their departures
from the NTS, they were both credible, well-respected scientists. They now
get painted with the “GREAT BIG NUT” brush.
• Workers sign confidentiality agreements that some lawyers believe are
illegal. Workers are sent to the site for 4 day shifts via Janet Airlines,
a private fleet of 737s that fly out of Vegas and go the NTS or the Tonopah
Test Site further west. Security around the boarding ramp to the nondescript
planes (white with orange stripe, no insignias) is very high – metal
detectors, wands, armed guards, and police dogs.
• The NTS is in the middle of nowhere, geographically hidden by a variety
of moutain ranges in the Pahranagat Valley. Any mountain vantage points
that would allow viewing the site from within 30 miles have been closed
off to visitors. The only photographic evidence we have of the area
come from satellite photos from space – the first were released by the Russians.
But the place can be found. If one has a handheld GPS unit, one can use it to drive along the nearly deserted Hwy. 375 and find an unmarked gravel road (about 4 lanes wide) that disappears 13 miles through desert scrub and cacti. It is to be noted that once one is actually on this road, magnetic sensors are transmitting the size and speed of one’s vehicle to the guard post dead ahead. (This has been confirmed by a local researcher who was arrested last month for digging some of the sensors up and taking photographs of them – all on public land.)
There aren’t a lot of places in the country where the use of deadly force is authorized, and I do my best to avoid nearly all of them.
But one could press on almost to the guard house, one last stop before deadly force goes into effect, and one might see one of several Ford F-150 pickup trucks come rolling down from its perch on a small nearby hill. The men in the truck are called “cammo dudes,” and they are employees of EE&G (a private security firm whose only employer is the Department of Energy). They carry sidearms, wear camoflauge jumpsuits, and have twin shotguns in quick release carriers in their pickups. One can take one’s word for it, or view shaky video footage for partial confirmation.
Of course one might also at this point do a crisp u-turn and head back down the unmarked gravel road, at a good rate of speed, if one were given to that sort of paranoia.
Still, it sounds like a neat place to visit. And it’s a good idea to take a rented car (in one’s wife’s name, for example) for greater security.
Oh yeah, one other thing. Fifty yards from where the unmarked road meets the highway, right in the middle of Hwy. 375, one might see this. On whom it was used one probably won’t know. But it will be there all the same.